Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm Back, America! Also, Technology or Something

This may irritate my fellow writer greatly, but there is now only 3 time zones between his posting offensive rubbish and my editing it out. That is obviously good news for you, our fans, and bad news for him, the racist/conservative. I'll probably be getting a phone call from him about this soon, so relish it while it lasts.

So what is my new abode like? Pretty nice! I'm living on an island in a marsh now, which is pretty... Unique. Definitely positive is the fact that it's approximately 2,000 degrees warmer here than it was in England when I left - and I aren't living in a fascist/socialist dystopia any more.
I can't decide which one David Cameron is today.
On the other hand, I am surrounded by a lot more black people over here. Just kidding, of course - that's the kind of thing that Caowinhim would say. Although there really are a lot more races and cultures here, which is quite interesting. Right now, I'm working as a paid home teacher at home, which fulfilling though it may be, does not lead to a lot of social interaction. It is therefore with great confusion that I announce that I am both more and less lonely than I was previously. This is compounded by the fact that of my two 'pupils', only my sister has literally any interest in being taught. Ah well... I shall muddle on, in true British spirit.

Next week, I have both the SCAD film festival, and my first true Halloween in two years to attend, and after that I shall be seeking a job at one of the local island shops. There is social interaction to be has therw, I think. Unfortunately, what all of this means is that I won't have much time for political thought in these next couple weeks.
You really are getting off far too lucky today, David.
After all, I need to get acclimated to the U.S. political climate before I can truly commentate on it. You guys do enjoy my political commentary, right? I would hate to think my writing is being wasted here, when it's so much easier to just write 'Down with the beorgeousie fascist junta' on the walls of my room and then wallpaper over the scrawls for future generations to find and puzzle over. Please note: I have only done that once or twice. Now, I would genuinely hate it if all of you at home thought that I was some kind of limp-wristed wishy washy liberal or something! So, I'm obliged to here tell you that I also hate communism.
That is, unless you count the utopian socialist paradise that we may soon be able to create with our now-beorgeousie cutting-edge technology. Even I, the most Apple-hating anti-Apple supporter to ever laugh at Steve Jobs' death (only a little: I aren't evil like Steve Jobs), am using an iPhone to type this blogpost. Oh, I'm only using it because my Dad had an extra one kicking about with no network plan, and I have more complaints about the software than a Republican does about Mexicans, but the fact of the matter is that I am using this now ubiquitous technology. Even if you have the good sense and taste to shun Apple technology, a vast majority of you have a smartphone of some sort, not to mention internet enabled everything.
"Jeeves! Fetch my wireless swan at once."
What has this got to do with Utopia? After all, I have almost certainly written at least one opinion in my life blaming this self-same technology for everything from stupiduty to cancer. The fact is though that iTechnology (is that a word yet? I'm so coining it if not) is making information, media, and entertainment 'post-scarcity'. What that means is that whereas books back in the day had a material value (the paper, glue, and ink all costs real money), data in this world of ever expanding and cheapening bandwidth is essentially free. Practically speaking, publishers in ye olde world had to pay thousands, if not millions on releasing books in the hope of return - but in the modern world, people like Amanda Hocking can make millions by self-publishing on the Kindle for literally no cost.

"But hold on, Mr. Rice!" I hear you calling, "didn't you say that post-scarcity means that things don't cost anything, and yet I need to pay for ebooks/TV/creepy fetish porn!"

Yes, things do still cost money (unless you, like me, whole-heartedly support the public domain and creative commons), but the important distinction is that they only cost money because distributors attatch an artificial value to them. I realise that as an aspiring writer, what I am saying is very self-effacing, but I'm still in favour. What does reading this blog cost you? Nothing. How much would you be willing to pay to read it? Also nothing... Unless you're a far wealthier and more generous soul than anyone I know - including myself. We get all our money from advertising. But the latest bestseller ebook? At least a few bucks, likely more depending on the vendor. Why is that, when fundamentally they are the same? Even bestsellers (Twilight) can have far worse writing quality than an average blogpost, whether written by me or an illiterate/Caowinhim - yet you are happy to pay good money for the latter. This is not, as previously and erroneously stated by myself, a flaw in society at large-
"Damn straight, homies"
-but a flaw in wealthy people that is single-handesly supporting our antiquated economy.
"I'm melting! Nooooo!!!"
I have recently been reading a newish RPG book called Eclipse Phase, which is what we call a hard science fiction game (mostly available for free on a CC license). That does not, as Caowin might believe, have anything to do with erections; it instead deals with (amongst other minor things, such as the apocalypse) a totally post-scarcity society, wherein even food and basic goods can be mass-produced at virtually no cost. Even perfect diamonds can be produced with a little electrcity and a lump of coal. So, in a majority of societies, 'money' doesn't exist as we know it; instead, products and services are freely available to those who contribute to society. All of this is of course pure fantasy to us - except that media is currently like that for us. We only pay for it because of dated principals pushed by the beorgeousie elite: modern internet technology has liberated us! We can all try and contribute to entertainment - whether you write, draw, or do music (or even other, more obscure things, thanks to You Tube), so why pay for it? I don't: I buy used when possible, opt for CC or public domain where available, and so forth. As such things increase in popularity and quality, the very economy that prevents a socialist utopia will lose all viability and crumble. It's already begun.

All of that is very much blue-sky thinking, I know. So, what can we do to make the dream come true? Not much really. It is an inevitabilty though - if not for us, then for our progeny somewhere down the line. A monetary economy is only one, very feudal, way of running things. The most you can do is keep reading our blog without paying for it.

You cheap gits are bettering the world!

Oh yeah... That bit about me not being a liberal: apparently I was wrong. Still, you can't say that I'm of the wishy washy variety.

This has been, socialistically yours once more,

Y. S. Rice


All pictures are sourced again! Yay for non-piracy. Follow links as you will. Forbes used to provide info on Ms. Hocking, the lucky cow who made money from nothing like all writers can only dream of doing.

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